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Tom Siestsema Shreds Hen Quarter in D.C.

What the critics are saying this week

Hen Quarter in D.C.
[Hen Quarter]

The Washington Post’s Tom SIetsema isn’t a fan of the “fledgling” Southern eatery Hen Quarter in Penn Quarter. He welcomes the decor, praising the reclaimed barrels, bright lights, and abundance of wood. The problem isn’t the setting (formerly an Austin Grill), which “whets an appetite for comfort food” but rather the service. Exhibit A: “At lunch, when I place my order, my waiter looks at the words on the menu as though he’s reading them for the first time. Appetizer and entree show up together. I have to ask for water.” There are also tales of repeatedly bungled martinis and long waits for other drinks. As for the food, the fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and collard greens are doable, but deal-breakers include botched Caesar salads, deviled eggs, and shrimp and grits. He notes that the food and drink at the Silver Spring location are much better, [WaPo]

Sietsema is much more impressed with Joselito Casa de Comidas on Capitol Hill, declaring its sangria “the best in town.” Some suggested pairings include smoked salt cod on a puree of garlic, parsley, and olive oil, or baby cuttlefish with lima beans (“My father’s favorite dish,” says owner Javier Candon). Seafood is a big focus, with “simple pleasures” ranging from lightly pickled mussels tossed with glossy bell peppers to crawfish sauteed with garlic and cayenne. [WaPo]

Over at Northern Virginia Magazine, Stefanie Gans assesses Calabash African Cuisine & Bar in Alexandria. Located in a packed strip mall, the restaurant stands out thanks to highlights like Nkulenu’s Palm Drink — “a sweet, almost grassy, saisonlike liquid” — a sharable okra soup with a slightly sticky texture, and “resplendent and rich” peanut soup. One must order: the “famed jollof rice because that deep tomato sauce is everything.” Service from the receptive owners is also on point. [NVM]

FROM THE BLOGS: BYT taste tests the Jack Rose tiki bar, while Hungry Lobbyist undertakes the tough job of trying out barmini’s cocktails.

barmini by José Andrés

501 9th Street Northwest, , DC 20004 (202) 393-4451 Visit Website

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

2007 18th Street Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 588-7388 Visit Website

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